Louisiana Legislative Session Coming To An End
A long and sometimes difficult legislative session for lawmakers ends Monday.
According to state law, the state legislature must wrap up its business by 6:00 p.m. Monday night. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the session provided mixed results for the governor who had two big initiatives--his education package, which made it through fairly easily, and the retirement reform package, which has struggled throughout the entire session failing to get legislative support.
After the Louisiana House passed its version of next fiscal year's budget, there were worries about drastic cuts to higher education, state agencies, and even the closure of some prisons. But Erwin says the Louisiana Senate restored many of those cuts and the Louisiana House agreed with the senate's version, sending the budget to the governor's desk.
"I think we are still in kind of a spiral when it comes to higher education in terms of cut after cut after cut, and that's not a good thing. At some point we are going to have to put the brakes on that. But I think at least where we stand right now, it's something that probably everyone can live with."
There were several high profile bills that failed to pass. A ban on hand held cell phones while driving, a proposed merger of Louisiana Tech and LSU-Shreveport and randomly drug testing welfare recipients all failed to get legislative support. Erwin says these bills will be back again next year.